Trimming Crape Myrtle

patty_cakesAugust 10, 2012

When is the best time do do it and how~~bottom or top? I see several in the neighborhood that have a nice umbrella type shape, sort of droopy. I've trimmed off some of the bottom branches, a few suckers. The trees were newly planted a few months ago, and are doing great, even in the heat~of course i've been watering every 3-4 days consistently. TIA

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there are CM's everywhere around Houston, they are very resilient, and withstand our heat, droughts, floods, and even severe pruning.

i've seen many that are topped at around 4-6' tall every fall and they keep growing back each year. i've seen some giant ones that are never or hardly ever pruned, like the large droopy umbrella shaped ones you mentioned.

mine were planted close to the house, so i only prune the ones that are within a few inches of the roof. and i also prune the suckers. we've been at this house for about 4 years, and they are about 15-18' tall, and have a nice spread with lots of blooms.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:57PM
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Lynn Marie

You are doing it right, Pattycakes! You won't get away with Crepe Murder on this forum. Don't chop off their heads!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 4:12PM
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The best time to trim crape myrtles is when your saws are sharp. (In other words any time). Thin, shape, trim, but never top them off.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 12:39PM
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Yeaaaaaaaaaaaa~~at least that's one thing i'm doing right!

Elchechex, what do you mean by 'thin'? ;o)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 5:07PM
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Some prune back or dead head after they bloom to promote more blooms. Some once they have gotten larger any branch that is smaller than a pencil but most of yours probably aren't any larger than that now. All Suckers that come up from the ground or you will end up with a bush. If those suckers are far enough away from the parent plant you might want to dig them up at is if you want more plants. If you have ever moved one you will see many suckers come up from the roots that get left and each and everyone of those will most likely do better than the one you moved.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 8:36PM
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Here's a great article (with pictures!) from the Houston Chronicle about how to prune a crepe myrtle:

Here is a link that might be useful: Guilty of crepe murder?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 2:40PM
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